4.Getting it Right in Race Relations
Kia tika mo ngā mahi whakawhanunga ā iwi

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status
Article 2, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races
Article 2, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

4.1 Introduction /

Human Rights in New Zealand Today / Ngā Tika Tangata O Te Motu highlighted the persistence of structural disadvantage and discrimination, a failure to wholeheartedly accept difference and diversity, and the challenge of agreeing on the place of the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand ’s present and future.


Harmonious race relations are dependent on the achievement of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to freedom from discrimination, but they also require communication and dialogue between different peoples.

4.2 Social and economic equality /
Te orite i te ahua noho me te whai putea

Outcome: Social and economic inequalities arising from racial and ethnic discrimination are eliminated.

Human Rights in New Zealand Today / Ngā Tika Tangata O Te Motu identified persistent inequalities in the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights as a result of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity. Priority actions addressing social and economic inequality are contained in the economic, social and cultural rights section of this plan. The priorities for action under this outcome focus on the legitimacy of special measures which aim to achieve equality.

Priorities for action:

4.3 Rights of indigenous peoples /
Ngā tika o te tangata whenua

Outcome: The particular rights of Maori as the indigenous people of New Zealand are respected and valued alongside the rights of all New Zealanders.

The recognition of indigenous rights has been the subject of considerable public debate both in New Zealand and internationally. There is developing jurisprudence both in New Zealand and in other countries in relation to self determination, customary rights, culture, language and the relationship between individual and collective rights. The Human Rights Commission’s programme of community dialogue on human rights and the Treaty of Waitangi has indicated the need for continued discussion of these issues, and of how the Treaty of Waitangi encompasses both the indigenous rights of Māori and the rights of all New Zealanders. Three particular challenges were identified:

New Zealand ’s experience domestically provides a basis to contribute internationally to the completion of a declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Priorities for action:

4.4 Language /
Te Reo

Outcome: By the bicentenary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 2040, New Zealand is well established as a bilingual nation, and communities are supported in the use of other languages.

Language is a critical issue for race relations, both in affirming identity and in fostering understanding of different cultures. New Zealand has a particular responsibility to ensure the protection and use of te reo Māori as an indigenous language, and also to ensure the survival of a number of Pacific languages, because of the special relationship with some Pacific Island countries and the high proportion of their populations that now live here. English language acquisition is also vital to the successful settlement and integration of migrants and refugees.

Priorities for action:

4.5 Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees /
Te hunga heke mai, te hunga whai whakarurutanga, me te hunga manene

Outcome: The human rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees are protected at all stages of the migration process.

The human rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, as set out in international conventions, should be protected at all stages of the migration process.

Priorities for action:

Outcome: Migrants and refugees are welcomed by their host communities and given the necessary assistance to settle and integrate in New Zealand .

Human Rights in New Zealand Today / Ngā Tika Tangata O Te Motu identified the particular health and welfare needs of migrants, including the accessibility of services to people of different cultures. It also highlighted the importance for new migrants of access to English language training and information about New Zealand society and their rights, including learning about the Treaty of Waitangi. At present volunteers working through the Refugee and Migrant Service, churches and other community groups make the most significant contribution to successful settlement of newcomers to New Zealand . They are not sufficiently resourced to meet the complex needs of refugees . The Government is currently in the process of developing a New Zealand Settlement Strategy and local authorities are at various stages of completing their own settlement plans.

Priorities for action:

4.6 Cultural diversity /
Te rerekētanga o ngā tikanga a iwi

Outcome: New Zealanders value and celebrate their cultural diversity.

Human Rights in New Zealand Today / Ngā Tika Tangata O Te Motu identified the persistence of racism, racial discrimination, harassment and abuse in New Zealand . Incidents of such harassment and abuse prompted Parliament in 2004 to unanimously condemn all forms of racial discrimination, and a subsequent forum of community leaders at Parliament, called to discuss the way forward for racial harmony, adopted the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme. The main points in this programme, which are consistent with the findings of the status report, are reflected below, and elsewhere in relation to the place of the Treaty of Waitangi and migrant settlement strategies.

Priorities for action: